(I haven’t gotten too lazy to write my own stuff. I just found this, thought it was brilliant, and don’t think I could put it any better.)
Human nature seems to indicate that all relationships are based on need. And that when people can mutually sate each other’s needs, a relationship is formed. The relationship will generally last until the one person can no longer fulfil the need of the other, or the need no longer exists. Once this happens to one of the people in the relationship, it will begin to die. It may stagger onwards for a little longer out of loyalty. But it’s pretty much run it’s course.
The act of fulfilling a need in the life of a relationship partner, is something I’ve started calling “Paying the rent”. Because despite what people believe, no relationships are intrinsically permanent. You can’t buy a relationship. The best you can do is rent one.
Now, there are a hundred and one ways you can pay the rent in relationships. It’s really just dependant on how lazy or how proactive the individuals in it chose to be.
Think of it like being a valuable employee. You can go to work, only do the minimum. Stick to your job description. Never diversify or expand your influence. And then one day your particular position becomes redundant due to some company restructuring or cutting back on the number of people in a particular position.
If you’ve made yourself invaluable. Your employer will make sure you are one of the ones who get to stay. If your position is gone completely, they will be moving you into something new. If you’ve been the bare minimum employee. You’ll be out the door.
Now let’s take this concept and apply it to interpersonal relationships.
Let’s take a look at a random guy. Let’s call him Geoff. Geoff is ruled at a base level like all of us are, by biology. Biology tells Geoff that he needs a mating partner. It tells him his mating partner should possess youth and beauty. So Geoff meets Mandy who possesses youth and beauty. Mandy is looking for a mating partner. Biology is telling her that she needs a mate who possesses wealth and strength. As Geoff drives a nice car, has a good job, and goes to the gym three times a week, Mandy is as happy with Geoff as Geoff is with Mandy.
So Geoff and Mandy start their relationship.
Geoff pays the rent on their relationship by buying Mandy dinner, nice things, driving her around in a nice car, letting her stay in his nice apartment, and making her feel protected when he holds her tight, or fucks her right. Mandy pays the rent on their relationship by being young and hot. She looks just right as Geoff fucks her, and looks pretty when they go out. And at a basic level, they think they have got their bases covered. As long as they don’t fight too much, the relationship will last till the status quo changes.
If Geoff gets comfy and stops hitting the gym, then he’s not paying the agreed rent. If he gets laid off at work, loses the car and the apartment, and can no longer buy nice things, he’s not paying the agreed rent. And Mandy will decide Geoff and her are no longer working. If Mandy lets herself go, or gets old, then Mandy can’t pay her rent, and Geoff will start looking for a new relationship tenant that possesses youth and beauty.
The other thing that upsets the relationship status quo is that as people grow they will often develop new needs. Once Geoff might have only wanted youth and beauty. But now he needs someone to inspire him and encourage him to broaden his horizons. Mandy might have only wanted wealth and strength. But now she wants someone to listen to her fears and help her move past them. If Geoff or Mandy can’t pay the increase in rent, then relationship eviction is imminent.
It all sounds rather shallow doesn’t it? But if you don’t believe me, just look around the world and tell me if I’m wrong. However, all is not lost. There are ways around this inevitable pitfall.
Be a proactive relationship tenant. Don’t pay the minimum. Pay what’s fair. Keep the place in good order. Look after the relationship. Look for new ways to pay the rent. Because relationships exist in a volatile and ever changing market.
Pay the rent by being a great listener, by being a trusted friend, by being a great lover and an adventurous life partner. Find the million other ways to pay your relationship rent.
Because things like wealth and strength, or youth and beauty are incredibly fleeting. And if you’re relying solely on them to pay your rent, don’t be surprised when you find yourself relationship homeless.
By James Davis